Electromechanical behaviour of three-dimensional (3D) woven composite plates

  • Mohamed Saleh

Student thesis: Phd


Three dimensional (3D) woven composites have attracted the interest of academia and industry thanks to their damage tolerance characteristics and automated fabric manufacturing. Although much research has been conducted to investigate their out-of-plane "through thickness" properties, still their in-plane properties are not fully understood and rely on extensive experimentation. The aim of this work is to study the electromechanical behaviour of three different fibre architectures of 3D woven composites "orthogonal (ORT), layer-to-layer (LTL) and angle interlock (AI)" loaded, in three different orientations "warp (0º), weft (90º) and off-axis (45º)", in quasi-static tension. Stress/strain response is captured as well as damage initiation and evolution up to final failure. The ORT architecture demonstrated a superior behaviour, in the off-axis direction, demonstrated by high strain to failure (~23%) and high translaminar energy absorption (~40 MJ/m3). The z-binder yarns in ORT suppress delamination and allow larger fibre rotation during the fibre "scissoring motion" that enables further strain to be sustained. In-situ electrical resistance variation is monitored using a four-probe technique to correlate the resistance variation with the level of damage induced while loading. Monotonic and cyclic "load/unload" tests are performed to investigate the effect of piezo-resistivity and residual plasticity on resistance variation while damage is captured by X-ray scanning during interrupted tests at predefined load levels. In addition, this study investigates the potential of using 3D woven composites in joint assemblies through open-hole tension and "single fastener double-lap joint" bearing strength tests. 3D woven composites in the off-axis orientation, especially ORT, demonstrate a potential for overcoming some of the major challenges for composite joints' applications which are the pseudo-ductility, stress redistribution away from the notch and notch insensitivity. Finally, the study proposes a micro-mechanics based damage model to simulate the response of 3D orthogonal woven composites loaded in tension. The proposed model differs from classical damage mechanics approaches in which the evolution law is obtained by retrofitting global experimental observations.
Date of Award1 Aug 2016
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorConstantinos Soutis (Supervisor) & Venkata Potluri (Supervisor)


  • Three-dimensional (3D) woven composite
  • Damage mechanics
  • X-ray Computed Tomography (CT)
  • Digital Image Correlation (DIC)

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